Dundee City councillors will be asked to kick-start discussions that will explore and agree joint marketing, development and governance arrangements with the University of Dundee, Scottish Enterprise and private sector landowners to market land and property assets that would make up the proposed district.
Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “Life sciences is one of the most important high value growth sectors for the greater Dundee area and currently employs more than 1700 people.
“We have an internationally recognised reputation for excellence and attracting significant venture capital into new companies, which we want to build on by exploring with our partners how we could create an innovation hub.
“A facility like that could offer greater opportunities for collaboration and economies of scale to accelerate commercialisation of research, attract new private sector investment into life sciences and create jobs.”
Innovation Districts are defined zones in cities where public, private and academic partners work together to attract entrepreneurs, start-ups, business incubators and others with the aim of assisting and transforming under-used areas and grow key industry sectors.
A life sciences innovation district in Dundee could be centred on the current Technopole, between Hawkhill and Blackness Road. Other potential assets that could be marketed include SE owned land at the Medipark, public and privately-owned land and property at the Technology Park and the new Tay Cities Region Deal funded facilities at the James Hutton Institute.
Councillors will be told that the university has commissioned specialist property advisors with significant experience in life sciences to carry out initial market testing and the early response has been positive.
Professor Iain Gillespie, principal of the University of Dundee, said: “The outstanding depth, breadth and quality of life sciences research in Dundee and the Tay Cities region is generating new companies in biotechnology, therapeutics, medical technology, informatics and artificial intelligence. This is happening at pace and bringing with it significant investment.
“The Life Sciences Innovation District concept is designed to support all our private and public sector stakeholders and to make our region one of the ‘go to’ places for life sciences innovation and commercialisation. The opportunities to improve the regional economy and to bring and sustain quality jobs for our citizens are very exciting. I believe our future is very bright.”
Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, added: “Critical mass is a factor and an attractor for businesses and organisations. Co-location and interaction drives invention and impact, so joined up thinking to market and develop existing and additional hot spots of activity is vital across the breadth of the sector locally.”
For more details about the plans, read the full press release on the Dundee City Council website.